03.09.2012 - 06.09.2012 28 °C
Monday 3rd September
Sad to be leaving Denmark but onto our next stage.
Drop the car off no problems. We are flying with Easyjet which is a budget airline. Paul has assured us there is nothing easy about Easyjet. I have printed the boarding passes but there aren’t any seat numbers so I presume it is first in best dressed. At baggage drop off Rach points to the old man with a walking stick and a CROW and we get our boarding passes stamped SA. We find the Priority Lounge, which is very comfortable and has free pour spirits, so after a whisky and a Campari this is going to be an “Easyjet” flight. One of the problems of Easyjet is that the gate is about 3 kms away. Rach has organised a ride in a cart so instead of a 30 min walk we have a 5 min ride. When we arrive at the gate we get priority loading, so we are first on the plane and get front baulk head seats
Arrival into Paris very easy no customs or passport check and our driver from Parisian Car Services waiting at the gate.
Great little flat in the Canal Saint Martin District, close to centre of Paris near the Gare de L’est Metro. This is a flat we booked through airbnb (Thanks Julie Purdey for the recommendation). We decided to toast our Paris adventures with a bottle of Billie-Carte champagne and take a moment to remember how lucky we are. The flat was on the 2nd floor above some shops and the access was through a blue door right on the street. Michele and Fatina were there to help with our cases. Whilst there was a lift it was a one man affair and even then you had to go in side ways.
Michele recommended a typical Parisian Ristorante “Esprit Brasserie” walking distance from flat. Lots of people about and plenty of eateries. We find Esprit Brasserie and have an excellent meal with a nice French Red and delicious seafood.
Catch Metro to Ecole Militaire. The stairs in the metro are incredible. I am starting to master the CROW.
We stroll through the park to the Eiffel Tower, only about a km but a pleasant walk. The queue was about 2 hours long, we should have pre booked on the web, so we opt for a bit of culture at the Mussee d’Osay. http://www.musee-orsay.fr/ This building has had an interesting past. Starting as railway station Gare d’Orsay, it was used as a mail centre for sending packages to POWs during the Second World War, a film set and a Hotel. General de Gaulle held the press conference announcing his return to power in its ballroom (the Salle des Fêtes). It closed as a Hotel in 1973 and after some to and fro including assistance from Presidents Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's and François Mitterrand, was converted to a museum in1986. It is five story Musee probably best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (the largest in the world) by such painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. I had the same thoughts as Carmel, if this place was sold the French could pay off the national debt. Perhaps the Euro zone could do with a couple of Aussie financial advisors. This is hard work so finish with afternoon tea and a glass of white in the café.
Back to our Paris flat for a rest before our evening adventures. Rich Wenzel has recommended we dine at a’le Villarett.
We wander down to the canal district as recommended by Michele and discover many children’s shops. Rae will be back to visit this area tomorrow whilst Rach and I collect the car for sure! Have a pre-dinner drink at one of the bars before getting a taxi to restaurant.
a’le Villarett was a great recommendation from Rich. We had a fabulous night at a wonderful Parisian restaurant in the back streets. Not sure what the others had but mine was “bifteck grillé flamme “ cooked to perfection.
Rach and I head off early to collect the car. 50 minute Metro ride to the Citroen dealer, on the outskirts of Paris. I was keen to do a couple of laps of the arc de Triomphe but a bit tight for time as we have a long drive today. We have taken the option again to purchase the car for our 4 week stay and then its sold back to Citroen. Have taken the CROW off today and fold the walking stick up and give it to Rach as we go to pick up the car, wouldn’t want them to know they are hiring the car to a bloke with a crook foot. We have a Dark Grey diesel C5 for our adventures.
The drive back into Paris was uneventful now that I’m getting the hang of driving on the right hand side. We were pleased to be reacquainted with our GPS lady from our last visit in 2008. Were even more pleased to hear that her manners have improved and she now starts the directions with…”PLEASE turn left…”
The ‘Parking Fairy’ has followed me to the Northern Hemisphere and I was able to get a park out the front of our flat. Rae was looking out the 2nd floor window and saw a car pull out thinking that would be a good park for Pete, not realising it was me waiting to pull in.(not sure if it was a legal park so wasn’t sure I could leave the car.) Rae and Rach did a great job with luggage, I could get used to this.
We set off on our next adventure – 450km Drive to Beaujolais area, south east of Paris between Dijon and Lyon.
The traffic was very hectic due to an accident, so only travelled about 30kms in the first 2 hours. Our GPS lady kept us informed.
Arrive at Blace to find our Hotel Le Savigny. Greeted by the owner Bruno. We are the only guests staying at the hotel. Rach gets her room upgraded. The rooms are large French style with big beds, bathrooms and the mandatory bidet. All hotels now seem to have very good WiFi connections.
We have a pre-dinner drink on the terrace overlooking the town of Blace and sample one of the areas Beaujolais.
Bruno recommends a restaurant in a nearby town of Blaceret the Ristorante Beajolais. We are the only diners so thankfully Bruno has called ahead for us, which would have given the owners enough time to open up and get their daughter ready to serve us. Once again we are treated to delicious wine and food from the area.
Rach bought us a painting by a local artist that will remind us of this wonderful holiday and the experiences we are enjoying together.
Started the day on the terrace with a French style breakfast. Will need to do a bit of walking today….
Headed south from Blace towards Oingt. Asked our GPS lady to find us the shortest route this time rather than the fastest. Learnt a good lesson that this meant many narrow dirt roads! Oingt is a fortified village perched on the side of a hill surrounded by Beaujolais vineyards. The southern area of the Beaujolais district is very similar to Tuscany.
Bruno had recommended a restaurant for lunch in Col du Fut d’Avenas. We take the foot hills and stop at St Ctr le Chatoux alond the way. There is an open air “la boucherie”. Rae decides to try her French and bought something for dinner, although we ate it I have no idea what it was. She had better luck in “la boulangerie” where she got a very nice bread stick.
Very quiet at this time of year for tourists. There was only one other table. Maybe due to being at the end of the summer season or the GFC.
There was a haze across the view but this cleared as we enjoyed our lunch on the terrace and another Beaujolais. Am lucky that Rach has offered to be the designated driver for the day, so can enjoy the wine.
A couple of incidents here; firstly the rubber knob on the bottom of my walking stick collapses; fortunately brought a couple of spares (and yes Rory I did need the large knob.) And secondly there was a quite flash shared toilet and at the hand basin there was a silver plate that when you touched it the lights went off and a red coloured light came on in the water flow. The lady who was at the toilet at the same time was out the door like a flash.
Called into some wineries on the way home for some wine tasting.
First – Regnie. Met the owner Guy Trichard. Guy was owner and field worker wine maker etc. He was dressed in shorts and a singlet and had limited English but with my Italian (he was French) we were able to share a conversation, many laughs and understand a little about his wines. Their wine tastings are very different to Australia. They actually sits down and shares a taste with you. If he was busy the days would pass very well. We left with a selection of 6 bottles of his wines.
Second – Beaujolais Villages. Met by Jacky Monternot who owns the winery with his twin brother Bernard. Jacky asked his niece to join us for the tasting, as her English was quite good. We felt very welcomed as we sat around the table with Jacky tasting each of his wines with him, and learning about the area and the wines that had won awards. Left with another 8 bottles of wine…. lucky future travels are by car and no luggage weight issues.
The vines are mostly free standing not on trellis, and we saw a lot of pruning of the tops to let the sun light in. Most of the vines are quite short, not much more than a metre high.
Had dinner on the terrace with treats we had bought during the day at small market stalls we had come across. Invited Bruno to join us for a glass of wine. Bruno’s English was very good and we were able to hear more about the area and the hotel that had been in his family for 4 generations. Bruno’s love was sailing but he has put this on hold to run the family hotel. He is hoping that his sons will soon mature enough to take over the family business and he can get back to his sailing passion. They had a full house Saturday and Sunday night but bookings were low. During the Tour De France Australian media had stayed at his hotel and he mentioned the biggest concern was to ensure the WiFI connections worked. Was a very pleasant evening temperature as we chatted, drank Beaujolais and shared Bruno’s first figs for the season.